Teaching happy tears: What kids learn from travelling in Cambodia and Vietnam

I'll always remember the first time I saw my son cry from joy, sentimentality and compassion. You know, happy tears, basically. He's eight, and he has cried plenty of times out of frustration, anger, tiredness and grief, but never like this. We were sitting in our hotel room in Hoi An, at the end … [Read more...]

Bus travel is NOT my favourite way to get around

I think it's well-documented that I love train travel. But what has featured a whole lot less on this blog is bus travel. There is a good reason for this. It's probably my least favourite way to get around, unless it's just a twenty-minute trip to a museum or somewhere. Let me start with the … [Read more...]

Meandering the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

This week, by some strange coincidence, not one, and not two, but three of my friends - none of who know each other - are exploring Vietnam. Two of them are heading to a boat cruise on the Mekong Delta today which got me thinking about a wonderful day I had there a few years back. Backpacking … [Read more...]

The year of the bat and Halong Bay

So, I just discovered it is the Year of the Bat. I'm a sucker for "Year of the ..." ideas and upon discovering that the UN team behind the Year of the Bat had gone all alliterative with their promotion, with slogans like "Bats are brilliant" and "bats are breathtaking", I felt compelled to publicise … [Read more...]

Vietnam for my generation and the one before

When I went to Vietnam a few years ago, my travelling partner at the time was always interested in war museums, and that's the only reason I have these pictures. So disinterested in the war museum was I that its name didn't feature in my travel diary, but I now suspect it was the War Remnants Museum … [Read more...]

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, it’s our day today!

Yes, this picture is from Vietnam, but I've chosen it to illustrate my Australia Day post, because - look carefully - doesn't it look like a map of Australia? Admittedly parts of the east coast seem to have dropped into the ocean and Tasmania doesn't even exist (see note below), but it's a … [Read more...]

Summer holiday destinations and my favourite beach trips

My last chat on ABC radio was a timely discussion of summer holiday destinations. Timely because last week here in Perth it really felt like summer here - we were in the pool every evening - whereas so far this week it feels like spring again and I've had to wear socks to bed several times. (Warmer … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: Nearly missing Vietnam

When I took a holiday in Vietnam while living in Japan, getting my visa was a close shave. As if figuring out how to use the Vietnamese consulate in Osaka wasn't tricky enough, they then didn't work with the same efficiency I'd become accustomed to while living in Japan. My visa was issued not, as … [Read more...]

Picture pirouette: Pineapple mountains in Vietnam

Pineapple lovers, start drooling: not only is this a huge pile of pineapples, I can personally vouch for the fact that they were sweet, juicy, and generally the most delicious pineapple I'd ever tasted. On a day trip out along the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, perhaps an hour or two out of Ho … [Read more...]

T-shirt travel: Good morning Vietnam

In the continuing tales of countries-I'm-surprised-I-haven't-blogged-about-more: let me present Vietnam. I spent nearly two weeks traversing the coastline of Vietnam while I lived in Japan, using the Reunification "Express" train (in quote marks because it was the slowest train I've ever taken) to … [Read more...]